By Kien Lee
In true magnificence, Blancpain has added its signature Quantième Complet (complete calendar) grand complication to its Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe model with two new interpretations.
The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Quantième Complet Phases de Lune brings together three iconic elements of Blancpain - Fifty Fathoms, Bathyscaphe and the traditional calendar with Moon Phase complication.
Fifty Fathoms - the World's First Diving Watch
Born in 1953, the Fifty Fathoms by Blancpain is a bonafide and undisputed icon. For close to thirty years, it has been the archetypal modern diver's watch, embodying Blancpain's passion for the underwater world, upgraded through the decades with innovations that have defined it as to go-to timepiece to accompany diving adventures, missions, both recreationally and military purposes.
Its name comes from the British measurement of depth, with 50 fathoms being 91 metres or roughly 300 feet, a depth that was the furthest divers could go given the technology at the time.
Birth of the Bathyscaphe
On the Fifty Fathom's 60th anniversary in 2013, Blancpain released the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe, re-imagining a model from the late 1950s. Its name is derived from the submersible cabin in which divers could explore parts of the ocean too deep for an exposed diver. It was first launched at an approximate diameter of 43 mm, 2 mm smaller than the original Fifty Fathoms yet slimmer in profile, to add. Since then, it is now also offered at a smaller size of 38 mm, providing more versatility and appeal to a wider base of customers.
In short, the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe is a modern watch yet retains all the hallmarks and diving heritage of the Fifty Fathoms collection.
Blancpain CEO Mark Hayek best explains the Fifty Fathoms as a "diving watch you can wear on land," while the Bathyscaphe is a "watch you can go diving with."
Blancpain and the Moon Phase Complication
In the 1970s, the onslaught of quartz watches threw Swiss watchmaking into turmoil. Inexpensive yet highly accurate timepieces, driven by electrical circuitry cannibalised the Swiss watch business. Faced with a low cost "category killer," many Swiss companies reacted by reducing the complexities of what they offered, and stripping their timepieces of complications was a start.
Rather than recede with the losing tide, Blancpain had a boldly different idea in the 1980s. It would buck the trend by going upscale, demonstrating that its creations were in fact rare pieces of mechanical art, executed with beautiful craftsmanship, a result of centuries of watchmaking know-how.
So close to forty years ago, in 1983, Blancpain introduced its first moon phase watch, leveraging on its own rich history of making clocks, pocket watches and earlier wristwatches. This move propelled Blancpain to prominence and since then, the moon phase would have an undisputed and irrevocable connection to Blancpain.
The manufacture’s devotion to the complication as a symbol of its blossoming would lead it to feature the moon phase in more in more varieties of timepieces and designs than any other watch house.
The Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Quantième Complet Phases de Lune
Combining sporty features with day of the week, month and date indications, the Bathyscaphe Quantième Complet Phases de Lune model reinforces the principle of everyday utility that gave rise to the first Bathyscaphe. The information on the dial is complemented by a moon phase positioned in a large window at 6 o'clock.
The 6654.P self-winding movement of this Bathyscaphe is protected by equipping its date mechanism with a security system, allowing the owner to make adjustments to each indication at any time, without any risk to the movement, unlike the usual calendar watches.
Measuring 43 mm in diameter and water-resistant to 30 bar (approximately 300 m), the new Bathyscaphe Quantième Complet Phases de Lune is available in two satin-brushed versions with well-marked contours: one in red gold and the other in grade 23 titanium.
The red gold model is paired with a sunburst blue-gradient dial. The gold hour-markers, hands and moon match the case colour and the dial is framed by a unidirectional rotating bezel with a brilliant blue ceramic inlay featuring a Ceragold™ time scale.
The colour-material match continues on the back of the timepiece which reveals a red gold oscillating weight.
The titanium model is distinguished by subtle shades of grey. Its sunburst anthracite dial is enhanced by gold hour-markers, rhodium-plated hands and moon. The likewise anthracite ceramic bezel is satin-brushed for a resolutely contemporary matt effect and bears a graduated Liquidmetal™ scale.
The gold rotor of the titanium model has been given an anthracite NAC coating instilling a sporty and dynamic vibe.
The Bathyscaphe Quantième Complet Phases de Lune watch in red gold is available with a blue NATO or sailcloth strap, with the latter option also offering a choice between a pin buckle and a folding clasp. The titanium model comes with a titanium bracelet or a grey NATO or sailcloth strap.
True to its sporty DNA, the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Quantième Complet Phases de Lune is truly a versatile everyday watch that you can also dive with.